Blog Archives for January 2018

America Faith Family God Beliefs Police Military Veterans Heroes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 31, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

So I missed the State of the Union last night because I had a thing, and I suppose I could have watched it later, but you know, there are depths of self-loathing to which even I dare not descend. Seems to me that it was a lot of the same blah-blah-this-is-the-moment-he-becomes-president kind of sludge we always have to endure.

Gwyneth’s Shifty Eyes

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 30, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

CFI's Joe Nickell is headlining the University at Buffalo's Science and Art Cabaret on February 7, presenting a talk on paranormal investigation and "the art and craft of critical thinking." UB's John Massier says of Joe's appearance:

Joe Nickell's investigative and research pedigree is broad and gigantic, and his knowledge of the field extremely deep. We know his presentation will give great clarity to the tools of critical thinking and skepticism as used in considering subjects many often take at face value or believe in too readily. Our cabaret has always had an ongoing theme of the value of critical thinking, and we know Joe’s experiences and insight will give great texture to this theme. It should be a telling cue to our audience that Joe has placed the word ‘paranormal’ within quotations marks. True believers may have their belief systems challenged. 

Snake-Filled Heads

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 29, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

This Wednesday, Bertha Vazquez kicks off the first webinar for the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), followed by another webinar the next day with Michael Ryan, author of A Taste for the Beautiful: Evolution by Attraction.

1 Comment

World War Generation Z

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 26, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the Doomsday Clock forward 30 seconds, giving us 2 minutes to the End of All Things. Lawrence Krauss and Robert Rosner write at the Post:

We believe that the perilous world security situation ... would, in itself, justify moving the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight. But there also is a real threat posed by a fundamental breakdown in the international order that has been dangerously exacerbated by recent U.S. actions. In 2017, the United States backed away from its long-standing leadership role in the world, reducing its commitment to seek common ground and undermining the overall effort toward solving pressing global governance challenges. Neither allies nor adversaries have been able to reliably predict U.S. actions or discern between sincere U.S. pronouncements and mere rhetoric.

2 Comments

A 230-year Parade of Unwell Men

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 25, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Pope Fluffy, not sounding unlike Yoda, goes after fake news. Not Trump's bizarro version of #fakenews, but actual fake news:

Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. That is the end result of untruth. ... We need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake-tactics’ used by those [purveyors of fake news] who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place. 

3 Comments

Absurd Premise; Didn’t Read

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 24, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Uuuuuuuuuh...

Ummmmmmmm...

So...there's this...

2 Comments

“The Greatest Showman”: A Nickell-odeon Review

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 23, 2018

Okay, I had read too many reviews of The Greatest Showman --based on the life of P. T. Barnum—before I actually made it to the theater. But I’m not one to fall for the humbug of cynical reviewers, preferring to get mine from the “Prince of Humbugs” himself.

We Need Some Icons

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 23, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Crazy morning, schools delayed, kids needing things, iced over vehicles, etc. This will be short.

Elderly People Prophesied a Speedy Decay of the Vital Forces

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 22, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The Defense Department's National Defense Strategy document, signed by Secretary Mattis, does not include the words "climate," "warming," "planet," "sea levels," "temperature," or "environment" in the ecological sense of the word. Hey I guess that means that global warming is no longer a threat! We won you guys!

The really bad flu going around got a little extra breathing room when the CDC was placed in limbo by the government shutdown. Oops! But now there is apparently a contingency plan. 

1 Comment

CELERINA: Quackery with Cocaine

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 19, 2018

“Celerina” was a medicine dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, originally of secret formulation, sold as a nerve tonic and cure-all.

Odd Season

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 19, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Yesterday, The Atlantic published an important piece on our Secular Rescue program, and central to that article was Lubna Yaseen, a student from Iraq who we helped move to safety in the U.S. It also so happens that she tells her story in full in this month's Free Inquiry magazine, which we have made free to read here.

3 Comments

Why Trump Is Always Right

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 18, 2018

It's not a popular thing to admit, but let's face it: Trump is always right. Here's why. 

Crack Our Souls Open

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 18, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The Atlantic has a big feature all about CFI's Secular Rescue program, profiling some of those we have saved, and quoting our boss Robyn Blumner and me in one of my less eloquent moments. Specifically talking about Bangladesh, I told David Robson:

We know there have been, and may still be, hit lists, issued by those who are trying to keep their hands clean, encouraging young radicals to slaughter secularists of their own volition. And one of the worst parts is the callousness of the response from the Bangladeshi government. From the prime minister and other officials, we get several versions of ‘Well, they shouldn’t have been insulting religious beliefs.’ After one student was murdered, officials began to investigate the dead guy to see if he had written anything worth killing him over.

Less Bad

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 17, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

President Trump is super-human. Here's what the doctor who performed his physical examination said:

It is called genetics ... Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. 

1 Comment

Sticks!

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 16, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson is coming back for a second season...five years later. Better late than never. It's coming in the spring of 2019 and titled Cosmos: Possible Worlds. Cue the endless review headlines wondering if it will be the "best of all" said possible worlds. 

Self-Pollination

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 12, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Donald Trump who somehow is President of the United States (lol) told a room full of educated adults with easy access to mass communication that immigrants from Haiti and Africa are from "shithole countries." He denied saying it, which of course is ridiculous because he said it, again, to a room full of educated adults. 

4 Comments

Knight of Swords! No Bombs Will Fly.

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 11, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

You might remember I was away for a couple of weeks in October for a writers' retreat, and one of the other writers there with me was Amanda Little, a science journalist who was working on a book on how the hell we're going to feed 9 billion people. She is incredibly smart and cool, and she's just published a big Bloomberg Businessweek feature on one aspect of her reporting: little AI robots that tend to crops, plant by individual plant, without screwing up the world.  

1 Comment

RIDDLEculous XVI

Investigative Briefs with Joe Nickell
January 10, 2018

More funny riddles with a science/critical-thinking angle.

The Arrest and Conviction of ‘Blue Whale Game’ Svengali Filipp Budeykin

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 10, 2018

Russian news stories claim that a man named Filipp Budeykin was convicted of involvement in the 'Blue Whale Game.' But that doesn't mean it's real.

Pains and Penalties

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 10, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

In October, I handed the prestigious (and heavy) Balles Prize for Critical Thinking to New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova for her book The Confidence Game. She told us at the time that she was in the midst of researching and writing her next book on the psychology of poker. Apparently she's got a good grasp of it, because she just won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure National Championship, beating almost 300 other players and winning almost $85,000, which is way more than we give with the Balles Prize. Maria is awesome, and she has my congratulations and my envy.

3 Comments

Apathy Paradox

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 09, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

It's amazing that this has to be said, really. And yet, Jen Gunter writing at The Guardian is compelled to instruct us that despite the guidance of Gwyneth and Goop, "Keep the coffee out of your rectum and in your cup." Well, good morning to you too!

Someone in the Past Believed It

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 08, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

It's 1/8/18 which means that in a way it's 1818 and you know what that means...

...I got nothin'. 

Hey check it out! It's CFI board member and all-around great person Leonard Tramiel, covered by the Santa Cruz Sentinel for his address at Skepticamp.

5 Comments

Dieting Myths: New Year’s Resolution Edition

A Skeptic Reads the Newspaper with Benjamin Radford
January 05, 2018

Losing weight is a perpetual top New Year's resolution. But what about the rest of the year, and how many people are really trying to lose weight? 

1 Comment

A Few Faint Notes of “Shake It Off”

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 05, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Kavin Senapathy, a most excellent skeptic and debunker of anti-GMO myths, often gets called a "shill" for Big Ag and Monsanto. At Slate, she turns the tables and calls out Monsanto for hosting a conference chat between the company's "director of millennial engagement" (oh barf) and Prof. Jordan Peterson. And the problem isn't that stupid "millennial engagement" title (let's discuss biotech, my fellow kids!)...

A Comforting and Substantial Improvement

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 04, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

Well we're all being annihilated by the "Bomb Cyclone" aka "Bombogenesis" aka "Best Phil Collins Cover Band Name Ever" and I have the worst headache of my life, so this Heresy will be, much like life, nasty, brutish, and short. 

There is no alien megastructure around Tabby's Star. Much like life, it's just dust. 

The Cosmic Significance of the Millennial’s Place in the Universe

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 03, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center quotes CFI's Benjamin Radford in an article about how the far-right invents pseudo-histories to mythologize white supremacy. ...

1 Comment

Perturbations of the Mind

The Morning Heresy with Paul the Morning Heretic
January 02, 2018

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities. 

It's 2018, and everything feels pretty much the same. 

I ended the year with a fun Point of Inquiry episode featuring Kavin Senapathy and Yvette d'Entremont (aka the SciBabe) for a conversation about pseudoscience and misinformation in food and health. I learned things, I laughed, and I heard the word "spatchcocked" for the first time. 

1 Comment